Health Issues

Bipolar Disorder – a simplified diagnosis

bipolar simplified

Bipolar Disorder – a simplified diagnosis


Historically, bipolar disorder was called manic-depressive illness and at times people continue to use that term.

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder and the essential features are mood shifts between an elated or manic mood and a depressed mood state. The term “mood” denotes an emotional state that may affect all aspects of a person’s life.

Bipolar Disorder is a serious condition that can interfere with a person’s ability to get along with family and friends and to function at work. The mood shifts are different from shifts in mood that are common in daily life,  because they are more severe and include extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep and behaviour.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Manic Mood State

The symptoms of a manic mood state include a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive or irritable mood that lasts at least for one week.

In addition, three or more of the following symptoms accompany the mood change:

  1. An inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  2. Decreased need for sleep
  3. More talkative than usual or pressured speech
  4. The subjective experience that thoughts are racing
  5. Easily distractible
  6. Increased goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation
  7. Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (buying sprees, or sexual indiscretions, for example)
  8. The mood disturbance is sufficiently severe to cause marked impairment in occupational functioning or in social activities or relationships

Depressed Mood State

Shifts to a depressed mood are equally disabling as lethargy, diminished interest in pleasurable activities and other depression symptoms can interfere with daily life activities.

Depression can also lead to feelings of worthlessness, the inability to sleep and thoughts of death.

Five or more of the following symptoms may indicate a depressed mood:

  1. A depressed mood most of the day
  2. A loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  3. Significant weight loss or weight gain
  4. Insomnia or hypersomnia
  5. Feeling restless or slowed down
  6. Feeling worthless, or experiencing excessive or inappropriate guilt
  7. Diminished ability to think or concentrate
  8. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

People with Bipolar Disorder can recover and lead productive and fulfilling lives. There are many types of treatment protocols, medications and support groups for people with bipolar disorder. Here in Malta,

Survivors and Supporters of this mental condition. Through mutual help and awareness, this is nothing more than another ailment, like diabetes etc., – it can be stabilized with the right medications and support.

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